The hearing in the case of Senator Orji Kalu, former Governor of the State of Abia and Senate Chief Whip, seeking to stop his retrial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the same alleged charges of money laundering, was adjourned until 20 April.
The adjournment is based on the fact that the originating citation was not properly served by the EFCC, which is listed as the first defendant in the suit.
At the resumed hearing of the lawsuit, Rotimi Jacobs, who had announced that the Commission had appeared on appeal, drew the court’s attention to the fact that the originating summons had been served in his chambers instead of the EFCC.
He informed Justice Inyang Ekwo he had yet to be briefed as to his counsel by the anti-graft agency and it would be professional misconduct to accept proceedings on the matter.
Professor Awa Kalu, who appeared on behalf of Senator Kalu, said in his reply that he had no problem serving the EFCC with the originating summons.
Accordingly, Justice Ekwo adjourned the case for hearing until 20 April and ordered the applicant to serve the EFCC within seven days.
On February 8, 2021, the court granted Senator Kalu leave to appeal his EFCC re-trial on the same charges on which he was sentenced and convicted.
Justice Inyang Ekwo subsequently ordered Senator Kalu’s proposed re-arraignment of the alleged 7.1 billion money laundering charges to be put on hold until the legal concerns posed against his retrial is resolved.
In a motion exparte argued by his counsel, Senator Kalu asked for an order of Court prohibiting the EFCC from retrying him on the same alleged money laundering charges against him.
He contended that having been tried, convicted, and sentenced on the same charges a Federal High court presided over by Justice M.B. Idris, it will amount to double jeopardy if he is subjected to a fresh trial on the same charges.
In his ruling, Justice Ekwo granted leave to Senator Kalu to seek an order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies, and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying him on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 others or any other charge based on the same facts de novo, there being no extant judgment and ruling of a competent court in Nigeria mandating same.